ARTichoke PROJECT (a new urban constellation)
This installation was conceived, created, and fabricated by Christophe Gauspohl + Mario Schambon as an official commission for the Make Believe competition in Chicago.
This project (like the vegetable it references) is a multi-layered, inter-connected concept that addresses the exploratory nature of complex forms in space, while encouraging the public to interact and “peel back” its elements to reveal a greater purpose. The installation proposed fuses a variety of mediums - architecture / sculpture / lighting / fashion / graphic design – all creating a unique narrative that engages its immediate audience while reaching a much broader audience.
The primary installation consists of the following “layers” - a large morphing structure composed of hundreds of repurposed lath pieces twists through the front of the space, a series of resin-molded mannequin torsos suspended as a window display, each with a glowing light source inside, a small part of the larger morphing structure which continues on the outside as if to penetrate the glass.
The secondary installations consist of the same mannequin torsos now “dressed” as a wearable art utilizing scrap material within each of the 6-8 neighboring stores.
[CREATION OF FORM]
The gravity-defying sculptural form will systematically and structurally address the tension between architectural space and the human form. It becomes the agent that ”re-activates the space”. It begins as a wearable garment that wraps one of the mannequins and extends back into the space through a series of undulations - a deconstructive “parasitic” gesture contrasting the white-box space. The resin mannequins act as reminders of a once-ornamental boutique stripped of its outer layers now revealing a more simplified/pure underbelly. The amber glow of the interior “heart” of the torsos creates a colorful contrast to the cool colored fluorescent lighting of the organic form. This end result will emerge as a melding of art, architecture and design with the intent of fostering the viewers awareness of this dynamic and symbiotic relationship.
The idea of this urban “constellation” refers to a geographic network, which exists on both macro and micro levels. The broader nexus of independent businesses that house one of the secondary installations all become star-points within the constellations that all then refer back to the nebulous central storefront project. This not only introduces a “know thy neighbor” approach by encouraging store-owners to make a rare visit to meet their peers, but it helps the formation of an actual abstract graphic map on the storefront glass, which then has a direct interplay with the evolving form growing within it (and possibly an interactive element that the public participates in).
The installation is almost entirely comprised of found objects. The lath is repurposed from a house only two blocks from the site. The torsos are molded salvaged dress forms. The lighting will include energy-conserving fluorescent bulbs and tubing. The paint used will be donated from a certified green eco-friendly boutique and UNscene client. All elements within the project have come from other uses and will be repurposed after their life in the space.
[EMPOWERMENT + OPPORTUNITY]
This project harnesses its collaborative nature. The various other specialists that will work on this project with me will be welcomed to participate in the creative process as the idea evolves. In addition, an exciting opportunity lies in the conception of each store’s torso projects. This process engages employers and employees in the challenge of creating a visual piece that embodies the stores identity. It also welcomes the public to explore the neighborhood to visit each of these project sites, which will ultimately generate exposure and business. In the end, all mannequin projects are brought together in the storefront space to help complete the installations greater purpose. The narrative unraveled.